2 Open days in Colorado...help!

Discussion in 'Nature' started by paul_chance, May 27, 2004.

  1. I am attending the RMNP workshop in mid June and have 2 days open by
    myself before needing to connect back with the family. I am
    somewhat overwhelmed with the choices available to me for photo ops
    in this beautiful state.

    I have two different trains of thought that I'd like input on:

    1. Travel to a location for evening shots, then drive to the next
    location for morning shots, then drive to the next location for that
    evenings shot...

    2. Pick one area and work it for both days. (I am leaning towards
    this one).

    I am shooting with a Canon equipment including 17-40 and 100-400
    with a Bogen 3021 tripod. (I prefer to shoot with Velvia) I would
    love to get some great reflection shots of the majestics peaks.
    Also any suggestions on mountain flowers in foreground with peaks in
    the background?

    Is Ouray a good place to settle in for a couple days? any other
  2. Ouray is a long way. From RMNP it will take you 7 or 8 hours to travel to Ouray. There are plenty of sport in and around the park to fill your time. If you really want to leave that area and you want reflections tri twin lakes by Leadville. It is beautiful and a place less traveled by tourists.
  3. The short answer is Yes. However 2 days is not much time. The Ouray area is a great photo area. However, it might be too early for the wildfowers at Yankee Boy Basin. Check out the following possibilities for scenic photography: Owl Creek Pass, east of Ridgway; Dallas Divide, west of Ridgway; Blue Lakes trail, access point I believe is from the Dallas Creek Road, great hike with lots of photo ops; views of the Sneffels range from the dirt roads south of Ridgway; old homes in Ouray. There is a motel 6 on the highway north of Ouray near Ridgway. Joe Smith
  4. I recieved a recommendation for Mt. Evans area around Idaho Springs. I hear that the reflections on Summit Lake can be quite nice.

    Is anyone familiar with it?
  5. jbs


    If you start in Loveland, Co. (35 miles N. of Denver)and check out this beautiful town where there is a sculpture (or dozen) in every park. After looking around town, work your way west into the Rockies and then North or South. You can't go wrong. North is horsetooth lake nestled in the loving embrace of the mountains. South is a beautiful Pass but I forget the name. Paul If you have never been to the Rockies get ready to touch the face of GOD by traveling up to the continental divide to look down through the clouds at the mountains below you.....Totally Awesome....;)....J
  6. In mid-June, wildflowers might not be all the way in bloom yet (it's an early year, though - Calypso Orchids are blooming at Wild Basin, and they usually wait until June...)

    You can try the Guanella Pass road out of Georgetown (take I-70 west of Denver; there are some nice tarns and marshes at the pass. Or, there are several lakes around Leadville which make good reflection shots. Mt. Evans is good for alpine flowers (not a lot with good peaks in the background, though...), and Summit Lake offers a solid reflection against sheer rock.

    You'll probably get some good reflection pictures at RMNP, and maybe some good wildflowers.

    Ouray is an excellent location, but it's a real drive from RMNP.
  7. Thanks for the tips. I am also traveling to Colorado this June (6th-12th) and have been trying to gather up a list of places to drive/hike/visit.
  8. Mt Evans is nice, but I haven't photographed enough there to know best time of day for reflections, etc.

    I'd be tempted to just stay at Rocky Mountain National Park another two days. Hike several miles up a trail, get away from the crowds, find some snow and some flowers and enjoy. If you pretty much stayed on one side, then drive over to the other side and spend some time there. If your workshop is all above treeline, then go explore the lower trails or vice versa.

    It is a nice scenic drive up the Cache de la Poudre River northwest of Fort Collins. Or take Hwy 34 back into Loveland, and look for bighorn sheep up on the sides of the canyon. You can easily kill a day at Horsetooth Mountain Park west of Fort Collins. Or hike up Mt. Crosier near Estes Park (or rent a horse if you're so inclined, there's a stable there). Indian Peaks Wilderness is south of RMNP, more hiking and scenic opportunities there. No reason to drive 200 miles just to see different mountains.
  9. Yep, like they said. ^^^^

    Ouray is a beautiful area, but so are many areas much closer. Like the Park itself. Or the Indian Peaks Wilderness area (just south of RMNP). If you're looking for reflections from ponds, stick with those two areas. You'll find plenty to work with. If you try to drive between several locations, you'll probably go home with a bunch of mediocre snapshots. If you concentrate on a single area, you'll probably get a few real stunners.

    Here's a couple of links that may or may not be helpful:




  10. Lots of good suggestions so far... I, too, would advise against travelling all the way down to the San Juans. It is, undeniably, one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., but a loooong drive from RMNP.

    I would recommend spending an extra 2 days in the park. I can't imagine that the workshop will have you do much hiking and there's lots of great hiking to fantastic locations - like the links Rich posted.

    In the Indian Peaks, driving the Peak-to-Peak Hwy south from Estes Park, I'd recommend Brainard Lake and hikes to either Blue Lake or Lake Isabelle - both are gorgeous at sunrise.

    Mount Evans is nice. The Summit Lake reflection is definitely a morning shot. There is a very nice stand of twisted, wind-blown bristle cone pines before you reach the summit - good both morning and evening. The road is the highest paved road in the continental U.S. and goes to 14,000 ft. Mountain goat and Bighorn sheep sightings are extremely common. This is about a 2 hour drive from RMNP.

    Enjoy your trip!
  11. Well, I decided on my itinerary.

    I will leave Estes Park for Idaho Springs check out the Mt Evans for a sunset shot and return early for a sunrise at Summit lake.

    Then drive about 3 hours to Aspen (during the harsh mid day light) and get ready to shoot, Maroon Bells and lake.

    I will go through Independence Pass both ways.

    Any suggestions on things not to miss on 91 through Leadville and west on 82 to Aspen.

    What about 82 to 24 south to Salida?

    Thanks everyone for their input!
  12. I think you have to ride a shuttle bus out to Maroon Lake, so try to get the details on that (timing, cost, access point) before you make the drive.

    Drive carefully on Independence Pass, there are a few stretches where the road needs 100% of your attention. After you drive it once, you'll understand why it's closed every winter.

    There's good scenery pretty much all along your route, but I can't pick any single "can't miss" spot. Perhaps others can...??
  13. If you have a decent telephoto, take some time to photograph the Mountain Goats on Mt. Evans. They're pretty accustomed to humanity if you don't try to go after their kids or startle them.

    Maroon Bells is open to cars before the first (9:30am?) shuttle - a necessity for photographers. A Golden Eagle upgrade to your National Parks Pass will get you in free. After 9 or 9:30, only shuttles and special needs (i.e. handicapped) vehicles are allowed up.

    Independence Pass has some good scenery; I would recommend stopping at the ghost town of Independence along the route (it's best when in shade or in the early morning / later afternoon - midday light backlights the best buildings with harsh light...) As the previous poster writes: pay close attention to the road on Independence Pass, as it is narrow, winding, and unforgiving of gross errors.
  14. PS - during your midday drives, there isn't much that's "can't miss" along the way to Leadville. Also nothing unforgettable from Leadville to Salida. Along each route there are some nice small lakes if you're willing to hike or drive a ways. Also, the views up to Mt. Elbert (the highest peak in Colorado), Mt. Massive, and other local peaks are pretty good from the Leadville area.

    If you're in to old towns, Leadville and South Park City (Fairplay) have some good history.
  15. Paul, If anyone didn't mention it, the Bells are best in morning light if you want the Maroon Lake reflection for your foreground. And I think it is even better if shot just before sunrise with a split ND. There used to be an old mining shack on Independence Pass with a window facing the Elk Range. Shooting from inside, the window makes a great frame of the range. You might use a fill flash to illuminate the boards on the inside. Unless you are set upon driving Independence Pass both ways, one of the most scenic Interstate drives is Glenwood Canyon, (IMO,), east of Glenwood Springs. Narrow Canyon Walls maybe 1000 feet above the Colorado River. There is a short hike accessed from the east bound side only, unless it has changed, to Hanging Lake. An easy one mile hike to the lake with a very scenic waterfall that spills out into the lake. There are several vantage points on two sides of the lake for photos. Glewnwood Springs is also kind of scenic and the Rocky Mountain Zephyr train stops in Glenwood. And Glenwood also has a beautiful hot springs and pool if you have the time. cheers,
  16. Thanks for everyone's input. I have a Singh Ray 2SS ND filter that I plan on using with my 17 - 40 for the shot.

    I am pretty excited about the trip and will scan some chromes when I get back home early in July.

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